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Vijay - The Eternal Winner

By Jaideep Sen



Vijay Khanna – Zanjeer
Vijay Verma – Deewar
Vijay Kumar – Trishul and Shakti
 
The name has been permanently embedded in the mind of the Indian cinegoer by writer Salim Khan Saab. The character of Vijay, symbolising victory, came into being in Zanjeer. Salim Khan Saab created Vijay before his historic collaboration with Javed Akhtar Saab. And, what a victory march it was for the terrific trio of Salim Saab-Javed Saab and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who played the character to such perfection from Zanjeer to Shakti.

The Terrific Trio: Salim Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Javed Akhtar
The name was coined for a reason: the socio-political climate in the country was quite volatile at the time. The common man was looking for an uprising in the form of a fearless rebel who could take on injustice head on and break its jaw with the fist of revolt. By giving centrestage to the common man in the triumph of good over evil, there could have been no better name to baptise this rebel with a cause. 

During my recent meeting with Salim Saab, he had mentioned that it’s always your own personality that is reflected in your work. And I have no doubt that the ‘rebels’ within Salim Saab and Javed Saab emerged and revolted against the disrespect meted out to writers. They made sure they got their pound of flesh in terms of respect as well as remuneration.

One common thread that ran through the most remarkable Vijays created by them in Deewar and Trishul was the characters’ attachment to their Mother. It seemed that metaphorically the umbilical chord still existed between the adult Vijay and his Mother. The emotional depth of this relationship is evident in this dialogue in Trishul:  “Jisne pacchis baras apni maa ko har din thoda thoda marte hue dekha ho woh maut se kya darega?”. The sheer power of that dialogue still gives one goosebumps and will forever remain the benchmark for setting up a daredevil Hero who bears emotional scars. 

Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Kumar (right) in Shakti
In Shakti, you have Vijay’s conflict with his righteous police officer Father. The relationship is fraught with misunderstanding and emotional conflict which leads Vijay astray into the world of crime. When Father-Son come face to face and the Father tries to explain to Vijay that he’s taking the wrong path, you have Vijay spouting these loaded lines: “Aur aaj bhi aapki baton se ek police officer ke lehje ki boo aa rahi hain”.

On viewing these sequences, it’s evident that these dialogues have been delivered by Mr. Bachchan with hardly any display of histrionics. That’s because the lines are so powerful. Combined with his persona and deep baritone, those lines of dialogue have become some of the most memorable ones ever written and delivered. 

That is the steel with which Salim Saab-Javed Saab moulded their Angry Young Man, his mission, and his language and gave Indian moviegoers Vijay, the Eternal Winner.

Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling. 

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